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Venezuelan government bans carrying firearms for 180 days

File photo showing Venezuela's Interior and Justice Minister Nestor Reverol
  • File photo showing Venezuela's Interior and Justice Minister Nestor Reverol
  • @NestorReverol

CARACAS.- The government is banning citizens from carrying firearms for 180 days following a wave of protests across Venezuela that have left 29 people dead and hundreds of others injured, Interior and Justice Minister Nestor Reverol said Tuesday.

"The carrying of firearms is suspended for 180 days across the nation to guarantee security, peace and order," Reverol said in a Twitter post that did not provide additional details.

The ban was imposed after a month of street demonstrations by opponents and supporters of President Nicolas Maduro.

Many of the protests ended in violence and the looting of shops.

Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz has said that most of the victims were shot during protests.

Maduro administration supporters and the opposition have accused each other of being responsible for the killings, and the government has accused opposition leaders of engaging in "terrorist acts" to create chaos in the South American country.

Venezuela's government has imposed gun bans in the past but for shorter periods, focusing on the days around massive demonstrations and big holidays, such as Carnival, Holy Week, Christmas and summer school vacations.

Political tensions rose in early March, when the Supreme Court ruled it could assume the powers the constitution gives to Congress, in which the opposition has a majority, after lawmakers dismissed a court sentence affecting three lawmakers.

The ruling was later reversed amid international pressure and the start of street demonstrations, but opposition groups keep protesting on the grounds that the Supreme Court ruptured the constitutional order.

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